Unusually for a Persona title, your Protagonist matters less than ever in Persona Q. After a short period of dungeon diving you’ll soon become aware that every character – aside from a guest – can equip an additional persona, a feature that is historically reserved for the main character, which begs the question: Why do they let you choose? More to the point, what is the difference between the two? They come from different games of course, and different players are likely to have their favourites based on their gaming history, but what are the real, tangible differences between the two? Join us as we weigh up the two options.
Persona 3 Main Character
As much as we dislike the fact that Atlus seem to have forgotten about the first two games in the series, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Persona 3 really got the ball rolling towards it’s modernisation. Social links weren’t a think before then, for example, and whilst you could argue that some of the mechanics started out life before P3, everything really started to make sense when it came together. Even those put off by ‘dating sim’ and ‘visual novel’ concerns found themselves befriending aged book store owners and subsequently eating their words. Thanks to the story and it’s climax too, a lot of players will find themselves quite enamoured with the main character, but did you know he has a canon name? Makoto Yuki.
This isn’t the case in Persona Q, and you’ll be forced to name both protagonists regardless of your choice, but that is par for the course in a Persona game and Q is no different. Due to limitations of the hardware, he’ll feel even more like a silent protagonist here, his interactions reduced to answering questions and picking the occasional option. The end result is that character growth and exposure is limited to the reactions of your team members, and whilst they do retain some of their habits or traits, the lack of any social links means that you’re just getting occasional snapshots of their personality. Still, revisiting them at all even in such a small way is cause for thanks, so we’ll take whatever we can get.
Route Differences (P3)
- Persona 3 cast playable from the start.
- First dungeon and Ending will be slightly different.
- Small differences in side events that take place throughout.
- Persona 4 protagonist will have lines of dialogue, whereas yours will be silent.
- Slight Velvet Room differences.
- Persona 3 main character cannot be removed from the group.
Key Battle Benefits
- Uses a 1H sword which deals the ‘Cut’ damage type.
- Access to all single target Fire spells.
- Learns the Physical/Fire mixed skills.
- Learns the incredible Debilitate skill with his Ultimate Persona.
- High magic stat, ideally used in the back row.
Alongside Naoto, we consider the P3 Protagonist to be one of the best back row performers in Persona Q. His innate Fire spells will likely be just as useful as any other element, but it’s his super high magic stat that really makes things work – no matter the sub Persona equipped, he’ll deal tremendous amounts of damage and perform very well. Interestingly enough, in almost all games in which we pick him for our team (read: nearly all of them) we like to give him healing spells. This may be seen as a bit of a waste given his high magic stat, but when this is combined with the Debilitate skill, he becomes the ultimate back line support.
Persona 4 Main Character
As you might imagine, Persona 4 marked the next evolutionary step for the series. With it came the advent of semi-curated dungeons, more social links than ever and even an expanded set of social stats. Depending on the version of Persona 3 played, you may also notice that full party battle commands are available, rather than the tactics system employed in the base version of 3. Continuing with the raft of differences in the sequel, the story chooses to focus more closely on personal relationships, and the events opt to take place in a small village rather than a dark and foreboding city. Persona 4 feels much more like a murder mystery, and whilst this gives it a completely different feel, the formula and systems operating below are very much a continuation of the series.
The main character himself – Yu Narukami – is obviously rather one note here, simply delivering your option choices outside of a few lines in the alternate route. He’s hardly filled with emotion in the base game of course, such is the way of the silent protagonist, and again you’ll be relying on his team to provide the basis for any feelings or exposure. As per the Persona 3 route you’ll be able to give him a name, and whilst we can understand some of the complaints surrounding this, players that have not delved into the world of animation or manga are unlikely to know any better, so it makes sense.
Route Differences (P4)
- The cast of Persona 4 are playable from the start.
- Both the start of the game and the Ending will be slightly different.
- Small changes in the Velvet Room.
- Persona 4 Protagonist cannot be removed from the party.
- Some events later in the game will be different.
- The Persona 3 Protagonist will have his own lines.
Key Battle Benefits
- All single target Elec skills available.
- Will also learn the Physical/Elec mixed skills.
- Wields a 2H sword, which deals ‘Cut’ type damage.
- Access to the fantastic Heat Riser skill once his Ultimate Persona is unlocked.
- Lower Magic stat than the P3 main character, but higher HP, Strength and Endurance.
- These stats make him more ideally suited for the front row & physical attacks.
From a strictly statistical standpoint the Persona 4 main character is surely designed to take up positions in the front row. In fact, we’d argue that he’s so well balanced from a statistical standpoint that he can perform well in just about any role, but the best of his statistics do tilt him in favour of physical attacks. His eventual access to Heat Riser is surely testament to this, and it’s worth noting that combining this with the P3MC’s Debilitate skill will make for incredible damage possibilities in the late game. The P4MC is a very strong character that often makes his way into our teams, however we’d argue that there are so many good physical attackers in Persona Q that he feels slightly less essential than the P3MC. In isolation we consider the P4MC a better party member, but the Debilitate skill often tips the scales in the favour of the P3MC in our games.
Pick The Persona 3 Protagonist If…
- You prefer the Persona 3 cast members.
- You would rather have a powerful magic user stuck in your party.
- You love taking advantage of powerful debuffs, like Debilitate.
- You would rather have the front row of your team free for 3 other members.
- None of the other members in your team have access to powerful Fire spells.
Pick The Persona 4 Protagonist If…
- You prefer the Persona 4 cast members.
- You like physical attackers over magic users.
- You’d enjoy super buffing single targets with Heat Riser.
- You perhaps want to fill the back row with choices other than the P3MC.
- You do not have another Elec user planned for your party.
Categories: Persona Q
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